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|Topic: Richmond, Ray County?|
Joined: September 16 2009
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| Topic: Richmond, Ray County?
Posted: September 28 2009 at 5:47am
R-XVI reports first confirmed case of H1N1
Brenda Jensen, News reporter
Richmond (Missouri) School Superintendent Jim Robins reported Tuesday the first confirmed case of H1N1 in a student.
“We have received our first confirmed case of the H1N1,” said Robins. “It’s a high school student. Our school nurse was told by a parent they suspected their child may have it, and that was confirmed by their doctor.”
A letter was sent home with students yesterday afternoon notifying parents and advised that students continue attending school, “as long as they are not sick and do not have any flu symptoms.”
The letter went on to say, “Flu spreads easily. If you suspect your child is getting the flu, it is important that he/she does not attend school or go anywhere else such as group childcare, church events or sporting events where other people can be exposed to flu germs.”
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the rise in the number of flu-like illnesses treated in state hospital emergency rooms the past week indicates the new H1N1 virus is circulating and coincides with the return to school and the cooler weather.
“Although the H1N1 virus has caused mild symptoms in most people this year, it has disproportionately affected school age children,” said Margaret Donnelly, director of the Dept. of Health and Senior Services.
“Very few people have any immunity to (H1N1)...We know it’s no worse than seasonal flu, except it’s harming some people we don’t normally see harmed,” said Eddie Hedrick, emerging infections coordinator for the Missouri Dept. of Health. Hedrick also said the average age of those infected is 12, the average age of those hospitalized is 20, and the average age of those that have died from H1N1 is 37.
“Schools always have to deal with outbreaks of flu, measles and other infectious diseases, but it is usually not an issue until wintertime. Now, educators, parents, school nurses and students need to be more vigilant so that we can limit the spread of flu,” said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.
Richmond school nurse, Jayanna Harrision, R.N. attended a special training on H1N1 on Sept. 9.
“I was the only nurse from Ray County who attended this meeting. The main theme was prevention,” said Harrison. “The biggest way to combat the flu, whether it be seasonal or H1N1 is to practice good handwashing procedures, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the inside of the elbow. Most importantly – if you are sick, stay home at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever, and without the use of fever-reducing medicine. The school district is planning on not closing any buildings due to the flu.”
“Schools are reimbursed or paid for every hour a child is present in school, so better attendance is better for the school district,” said Jim Morris, spokesman for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The district encourages parents to set a good example of these preventive measures while teaching them to their children.
Students that come to school with flu symptoms will be sent home and asked to remain at home until 24 hours after all symptoms of flu have resolved, without the use of fever-reducing medications, before returning to school. Parents will be asked to pick the child up as soon as possible to prevent further spreading of the virus. If a parent/guardian cannot pick the child up right away, the school will do all it can to keep the student away from the general student body.
The DHSS reports 371 cases of H1N1 in the state between April 2009 and Sept. 12. Seasonal flu reporting will begin the week ending Oct. 10, 2009. Influenza activity codes are reported to the Centers for Disease Control each Tuesday.
State education officials are working closely with DHSS to provide school districts with the latest flu-related information. Parents and educators may obtain current information from the State of Missouri Web site and from the DHSS Web site.
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